Monday, November 12, 2018

The Conversation May Prove More Important

I had two conversations with different Sherlockians this weekend that made me do a little pondering.

Saturday was The Parallel Case of St. Louis' final meeting of 2018 We had a new member join us this weekend, and she admitted later that she was a little nervous coming into an established group.  We've all been there: walking into a group that already has an set routine that you don't know, references and in-jokes that only make half-sense to you, wondering if what you have to say will fit with the group.  Ugh, just thinking about it makes my anxiety flare up.

I was able to spend a few minutes with our new member after the meeting, and it was a wonderfully delightful talk!  We got to talk about a few common Sherlockian interests, and at one point Johnlock was mentioned.  She graciously acknowledged that even though I'm not on the same page as her in our views on Johnlock, we still had plenty of common ground.  We said our goodbyes and I hope to see her at our next meeting in January.

Later that day, I was talking with a friend who has been a Sherlockian for many years.  He's active in a city where there's more than one scion, and was telling me about how old grudges between some of the members in different scions still influence relations between the groups decades later.

Now, taken one at a time, neither of these conversations are very earth-shattering.  But it struck me just how different these two situations were handled.  Sherlockiana is a hobby that we all come to with a shared interest in the stories of Sherlock Holmes.  No matter your political leanings, religious beliefs, or whatever divisive category we can put ourselves in, we are all starting from the same place: Sherlock Holmes.

From there, we can see the differences multiply.  Will Ferrell?  "devotee" vs. "fan"?  Johnlock?  Are these points of contention any different than women in the BSI or Rex Stout's "Watson was a Woman"?  They are just different interpretations of the same interest. 

The new member I spoke with on Saturday, (and I know this is clunky without me using her name, but I didn't ask ahead of time and don't want to be presumptuous) could easily blow me off because Johnlock isn't my thing.  The other conversation I had this weekend proves that it can happen, and it can last for years.  People in the same city, with the same hobby, refusing to work together because of some decades old disagreement.

And this isn't just because the disagreeing groups are old school Sherlockians and the generous one is a new school fan.  There are some disagreeable members of the new fandom and scores of wonderfully generous old school people.

So how do we become more of a welcoming community of fans, devotees, whatever we choose to call ourselves?

I don't have all of the answers.  Hell, I barely have any. 

But my one guiding light when navigating Sherlockiana is to remember that we are all starting from the same place: Sherlock Holmes.  From there, it's just about human decency.  We may stumble along the way (I know I have plenty of times), but if we can focus on the positives instead of the differences, I think we'd all be surprised to find out just how interesting Sherlockiana can be with other viewpoints.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Interesting Interview: Leah Guinn

Well, I interviewed an Indianan last month, so on to something different, right?  Nope!  We are keeping our Sherlockian interviews in the Hoosier state again this month, this time getting to know The Well-Read Sherlockian herself, Leah Guinn.  

You never know where Leah's writing will show up.  She, of course, has her own blog, The Well-Read Sherlockian, where she sporadically reviews Sherlockian pastiches, interviews authors, and oversees the best Sherlockian internet event in my opinion, the annual 12th Night Giveaway.  But she's also been published on Undershaw's blog, has a chapter in About Being a Sherlockian, and has co-authored a must-own almanac, A Curious Collection of Dates: Through the Year with Sherlock Holmes.

I've known Leah through the internet for a while now, but I was lucky enough to get to meet her and her husband Brett at Nerve and Knowledge II earlier this year.  I spent a good portion of the after party with the two of them and never wanted the night to end.  Leah Guinn is definitely an interesting Sherlockian!

How do you define the word “Sherlockian”?

To me, a "Sherlockian" is someone who likes Sherlock Holmes (any version) to the point where they seek out more information about him (or her, because "versions"), and who, in most cases, wants to make a connection with others who feel the same. This could be someone who rereads the Canon and attends scion meetings, or it could be someone who likes to watch and rewatch film/tv incarnations while writing "coffee shop AU" fics for the internet.  If you're a Sherlockian, you know it.

How did you become a Sherlockian?

In a very long, roundabout process. I think I have almost always been aware of Sherlock Holmes, but I encountered him in many different ways. The first one was probably through Eve Titus' Basil and the Pygmy Cats, which I bought at a school book fair in the second grade--1974 or 1975. Two years later, when I was in 4th grade, I bought a collection of Holmes tales (again at the book fair). The first story had to be SIGN, because I remember immediately seeing the word "cocaine." I was a very good, religious girl, so I was utterly shocked and never read that book again. I didn't read any more Holmes until sometime in college. The first one was actually a pastiche by Edward Hanna, The Whitechapel Horror. I really liked that, so (now able to handle the mention of drugs) I decided to try the Canon again. This time it was HOUN, and to be honest, I was underwhelmed--too much Watson for my taste (I am definitely a Holmes woman).  Skip ahead a couple of decades to 2010: I had just barreled my way through Preston and Child's Agent Pendergast series and felt lost, the way you do when you've fallen in love with a book or a character. I knew that P&C had based some aspects of their hero on the Great Detective, so I reread Hanna, then went on to Lyndsay Faye's Dust and Shadow, a truly wonderful book. After that, I loaded STUD onto my kindle, and read (I kid you not) nothing but the Canon and Holmes-related work for an entire year.

What is your favorite canonical story?

Definitely ILLU. I've met (nonmurderous) people like the Baron; he was instantly familiar, and it was a lovely thing, seeing him get his comeuppance. I was also completely amazed by Conan Doyle's ability to write about psychopathy and sexual perversion in a way that was subtle enough to adhere to his time's moral standards, yet at the same time make it so recognizable to a 21st-century adult. It was obvious to me that he knew what kind of person he was writing about, and I find that fascinating.

Who is a specific Sherlockian that you think others would find interesting?

Oh, we're all fascinating!  There is a young Sherlockian, however, in Minnesota--Soren Eversoll--whom you might want to interview. I met him briefly at the Norwegian Explorers conference in 2013.  He's a teenage member of the Norwegian Explorers.  Although I am a relatively new Sherlockian myself, I am in my fifties, and I like seeing "the young people" getting involved.

What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you?

I really, really love researching 19th century crime, and I am an unapologetic BBC Sherlock fan. Yes, even S4.

What things do you like to research related to Sherlock Holmes?

Well, 19th century crime and detection, as well as the development of medicine during Holmes' and Watson's lifetime--or, rather, their earlier adulthood, as we know that they are both still with us.

Your blog, The Well-Read Sherlockian, focuses on pastiches.  What makes pastiche so interesting to you as a reader?

I was brought into the fandom through pastiche, and I see it as a way to extend the adventure when you've read the Canon and need more. It's interesting to see how many ways one can write about Holmes and Watson, and still have them be completely recognizable.   I began the blog because I honestly thought I'd be able to read and review ALL of the pastiche out there. But, as we all know now, that first entry was published right on the cusp of a pastiche explosion, so I really have no hope of achieving that goal!  As time has gone on, I have become more interested in what makes a good pastiche, and pointing those stories out to other readers. When I first started, I put out some bad reviews, but honestly, I enjoyed ranting about poor writing and being a Canonical Zealot far too much. I was a bit of a jerk. I've gravitated away from that, I hope. There are a lot of people out there writing and publishing pastiche, hopefully because they find it artistically fulfilling, and I really don't want to discourage them.  While I have no problem giving a (gentle) private critique, I'm at the point right now where I want to promote good work and be more of an encourager than a critic. And in my blog, I've tried to expand the meaning of being a "well-read Sherlockian" to include not only pastiche, but historical, biographical, and other works as well. The more you know about Holmes, Watson, and their world, the more you can appreciate them--and, if you choose, bring them to life in your own way.

What was the impetus behind your collaboration with Jaime Mahoney for A Curious Collection of Dates?

It all came from a throwaway post on the WRS Facebook page. I have a weird love of dates--the calendar kind, not the fruit kind, which are kind of icky. One night, I posted something to the effect that "wouldn't it be nice if there were some kind of calendar of important Sherlockian dates?" (This was, by the way, at an innocent, carefree time where I was only aware of Baring-Gould's chronology.) Jaime saw that post and messaged me, asking me if I were serious about that. Well, of course I was!  And I was completely in awe that Jaime N. Mahoney, blogger at Better Holmes and Gardens, the brilliant website that had inspired me to do my own, was actually messaging me about doing a project.  After some research into the tear-off kind of calendar, we both realized that we want to do something a little more in-depth. This resulted in a 4 hour-long phone conversation, at the end of which we were committed to an almanac, and to a wonderful friendship. This is Sherlockiana, really--you come for the detective, but you stay for the friends. I have to wonder if we're not all being set up by our patron saint, Stamford.

What book would you recommend to other Sherlockians?

This is such an unfair question, hahaha. Of course I am going to give you several.
For traditional pastiche: Dust and Shadow (Lyndsay Faye)
For non-traditional Sherlockian fiction:  Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles  (Kim Newman)
For Conan Doyle:  The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes  (Andrew Lycett); Arthur and Sherlock (Michael Sims); Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters (Lellenberg, Stashower, et al.)
Holmes in our culture:  From Holmes to Sherlock (Mattias Bostrom)

I also believe that we can all benefit from reading Conan Doyle's own biography, Memories and Adventures, as it gives you a sense of the man himself, and how he viewed his life. He's not chatty about his personal life, but that is interesting in and of itself.

Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now?

I definitely think we will be around, about five years away from the Next Big Sherlock Holmes Thing with all of its attendant excitement and angst. We are getting more diverse, as we should be, and that trend will hopefully continue. The BSI will probably be on the verge of having its first female leader, if it hasn't happened already.  think it's important for local scions to remain healthy, and for others to spring up (I keep meaning to start one in Ft Wayne, but honestly, I don't have a lot of time at this point in my life). There are so many people out there who, even if they don't become obsessed with Holmes to the point of building large collections and being invested in the BSI, would still benefit from meeting others with like interests and finding outlets for their talents on a local scion level. And I would like to think that we would finally be done with arguing over the definition of a "real Sherlockian," but we all know that that is likely a three-pipe dream.

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Curious Collection

Friday was the day.

I've been waiting and waiting for the new Chris Redmond anthology, Sherlock Holmes is Like, to arrive at my house.  And it finally showed up Friday afternoon!

I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute an essay to this collection, and my chapter compares Sherlock Holmes to Huckleberry Finn.  But it wasn't because my name was in print that I was excited to see this new book.  A few months ago, Chris sent the table of contents out to all 60 contributors.  It was like getting to see the shape and size of your Christmas presents, but having to wait to open them. 

59 other intriguing, interesting and unknown personages graced the list.  I'm not going to review each and every chapter, as Brad Keefauver is doing that in his own entertaining and off the wall way over on Sherlock Peoria.  Plus, his random approach to the book is better for a review than my linear, page by page consuming of it.

I've talked with other readers who have the discipline to only allow themselves one essay per day so the pleasure of this book lasts longer. 

I don't have the kind of will power.

I dove right in, like Cookie Monster at a bakery.

The first section is all about eminent Victorians, many of whom I was not familiar with.  It was so nice to be learning about new historical figures through the lens of Sherlock Holmes.  If tax law and doing laundry could be done through the lens of Sherlock Holmes, I bet I would find those topics much more interesting as well.  Maybe Redmond and his authors are on to a new line of educational theory here: learning about topics through the lens of Holmes. 

I'm half way through the next section, Legends and Immortals.  So far I've read about Odysseus, Loki, Shiva and King Arthur.  That sentence alone is enough to get your attention, but comparing the world's greatest detective to such luminaries is a recipe for success.

The chapters are collected into themes, Eminent Victorians, Legends and Immortals, Characters of Literature, Figures of Pop Culture, The Bloodhounds, and the catchall Something Recherche.  As I look forward (and I mean that in every sense of the phrase) to the coming chapters, there are ones I have a pretty good knowledge of and am looking forward to (Sam Beckett, The Beatles, Hermione Granger, Doctor Who), ones that seem intriguing (The Wizard of Oz, Batman, Zorro, Lucy Van Pelt), and ones that I have no idea what to expect but can't wait to learn (Gandalf the Grey, Hamlet, Jimmy Lavender, Elon Musk). 

So, why am I still sitting around typing this blog?  I've got reading to do!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Shall We Argue About It Here in Public?

I read Michael Dirda's fantastic book, "On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling" this week and enjoyed almost every single page.  I'm not a Doylean, per se.  In fact, I found "Memories and Adventures" pretty boring.  But Dirda's book is a slim volume that spends a lot of time on Sherlock Holmes and Sherlockiana; so I thought it was great!

Except for one part.

Doyle famously had mixed feelings about Sherlock Holmes.  To me, it's always been like listening to a musician talk about their new work or a passion project.  That's nice, but they know what people want to hear when it's concert time.  Play the hits.

Dirda quotes Doyle from a 1910 interview in Tit-Bits:

"Now nobody can possibly be the better - in the high sense in which I mean it - for reading Sherlock Holmes, although he may have passed a pleasant hour in doing so.  It was not to my mind high work, and no detective work can ever be, apart from the fact that all work dealing with criminal matters is a cheap way of rousing the interest of the reader."

Excuse me?

Look here, pal.  Before we start throwing shade on people's interests and how we better ourselves, let's set the playing field.  This is a dude who got owned by some school girls because he believed in fairies.  And I'm far from an authority on what people should or shouldn't do with their lives.  That being said, I think it's safe to say that neither of us can claim the moral high ground here.

Now, let's start at the end of this nonsensical statement.  "[A] cheap way of rousing the interest of the reader."  How much were you getting paid for those last Sherlock Holmes stories?  By my accounting, too much.  Nobody is putting "The Veiled Lodger" or "The Mazarin Stone" in their top three.  So although the amount of effort you put into these stories may be "cheap," they sure weren't cheap to your publishers.

"It was not to my mind high work."  Sir Arthur, I've read some of your "high work."  Let's just say the less said about "The History of Spiritualism," the better.

But here's what gets my goat:  "Now nobody can possibly be the better... for reading Sherlock Holmes."

Deep breath.

I am far from a long-time Sherlockian, but I have met some damn fine people who have spent years, decades even, loving these stories.  And they are better people than I.  So, don't you DARE pass judgement on the types of folks who enjoy a good detective yarn and mine those stories for inconsistencies, conspiracies, speculations, and whatever else interests them.  Sherlockians are some great folks, and to dismiss their interests just because it doesn't coincide with yours is nonsense.

I would invite Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to drift on back in his ghost form to any scion meeting and pay attention to the intelligence and friendship that would be on display.  They'd probably even listen to you go on about how Brigadier Gerard was a fascinating character and the physics of ectoplasm just to humor you.  Because Sherlockians are good people.  And I am a better person for knowing them.  And I know them because I read Sherlock Holmes.  Ergo, I am better for reading Sherlock Holmes.

So, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

P.S.  This is all just a silly rambling.  Except for where I talked about how great Sherlockians are.  That's the truth.

Monday, October 15, 2018

It is More Useful to Reason Forwards

So, I found myself thinking about Hitler recently.

Whoa.  Let's back up, and see how this is a Sherlockian topic.

From Gillette to Brett V took place last weekend in Bloomington, Indiana, and from all accounts it was a great event!  I wasn't able to make it (Apparently, I'm expected to be at my daughter's birthday party.  My whining "But it's a Sherlockian conference!" had little to no effect.), but I followed along vicariously through Twitter, Facebook posts, and I Hear of Sherlock's live video Friday night.

One of the items on the weekend's roster was a showing of Der Hund Von Baskerville, the 1929 German film of Holmes' famous case, The Hound of the Baskervilles.  This was one of the films that were found in Adolf Hitler's bunker after WWII.

I also happened to be reading an old edition of The Baker Street Journal this week, when the same film was mentioned.  This issue was from 1948, and WWII was still fresh in everyone's mind.  It was mentioned that Hitler's copy of this film was part of an exhibition including other items from his bunker.

Okay, two Sherlockian connections to Hitler in one week.  Let's call that a coincidence.

But then the third happened.

I also read Vincent Starrett's Books Alive this week, written in 1940.  And he has a passing mention about Hitler, hoping to see him locked up in a prison soon.  Starrett never got his wish, but Hitler wasn't an issue for the world anymore after 1945.

I always close my Interesting Interview posts with the question "Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now?" Do you think there is any way that if someone had asked Vincent Starrett in 1940 what he expected to see in the world surrounding the Sherlock Holmes stories in 5 to 10 years, he would have guessed that The Hound of the Baskervilles film would've been found in Hitler's bunker after he had committed suicide?  That's a pretty specific prediction.

So, where will WE see our hobby in 5 to 10 years?  I love the variety of answers I've gotten from the interviews so far this year.  Beth Gallego, Brad Keefauver, Carlina De La Cova, Vicki Delaney, Ray Betzner, Ashley Polasek and Vincent Wright have all given their takes on this question.  I love that their answers are so diverse yet positive about our hobby.  Sherlockiana isn't going anywhere anytime soon, even if it did have a slight brush with Hitler.

So where do YOU see Sherlockiana in 5 to 10 years?  Leave a comment below and let's get those creative juices flowing!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

We Have Made Some Progress

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of posts about people kicking it into high gear to complete their 2018 resolutions.  And that made me think that maybe I should take stock and see how I'm doing on my Sherlockian resolutions for the year.

1. Read one canonical short story every week.

2. Update the Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street Facebook page on a regular basis.

3. Make good progress on my next writing project geared towards young readers.

4. Help create a space online where educators can find Sherlockian resources for lesson plans.

5. Keep membership numbers up for The Parallel Case of St. Louis and foster a welcoming environment for anyone in the St. Louis area to join us in discussing the Canon.

6. Have Holmes in the Heartland be a fun and educational Sherlockian weekend.

7. Submit an article to the Baker Street Journal.

Wow.  Now that I look back, I had some lofty goals for this year, and quite a few of them! 

(Deep breath)  Okay, let's see how things look.

1.  Read one canonical short story every week.

I gave up on this a months ago. 

I realized fairly early on that this was becoming more of a reading requirement and I wasn't enjoying the stories as much as I have in the past.  I did read quite a few stories so far this year though:

  1. The Adventure of the Three Students 
  2. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches 
  3. The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual 
  4. The Adventure of the Reigate Squires 
  5. The Adventure of the Crooked Man 
  6. The Adventure of the Golden Pince Nez 
  7. Silver Blaze 
  8. The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter 
  9. The Adventure of the Missing Three Quarter 
  10. The Adventure of the Naval Treaty
  11. The Final Problem 
  12. The Adventure of the Empty House 
  13. The Adventure of the Norwood Builder 
  14. The Adventure of the Abbey Grange 
  15. The Adventure of the Dancing Men 
  16. The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist 
  17. The Cardboard Box
  18. The Adventure of the Priory School 
  19. A Scandal in Bohemia 
  20. The Adventure of the Yellow Face 
  21. The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist 
  22. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches 
  23. The Stockbroker’s Clerk 
To be honest, when I thought back on this, I didn't expect to see so many on the list.  I'm pleasantly surprised by making it to 23 (22 if you want to count against me for reading SOLI twice this year).  52 stories was a lofty goal, and I probably won't even get to half of that, but I'm very happy with being able to say I've read more than 20 Holmes stories this year.  I'm calling it a win.

2. Update the Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street Facebook page on a regular basis.

Pfft.  That fizzled out pretty quickly.  No way I can count that as a win in any way, shape or form.

3. Make good progress on my next writing project geared towards young readers.

This one's trickier.  In December, I specifically said "My goal is to start working on it in the next month.  It's going to be geared towards younger readers, and my research will start in earnest this winter.  My hope is that I will be ready to start the writing process by the spring."

My plan for the book changed.  Although I did do some writing, drafting two chapters over the summer.  I moved the research part back to November, when I'll be teaching Sherlock Holmes to my students, and plan to spend quite a bit of time on it over the Thanksgiving break.  So let's call this one a draw.

4. Help create a space online where educators can find Sherlockian resources for lesson plans.

Things are definitely looking better with my resolutions now.  The Beacon Society website is an easier to navigate site for educators who might not be too familiar with Sherlock Holmes.  And we are continuing to work on more and more resources to be available.  Score.

5. Keep membership numbers up for The Parallel Case of St. Louis and foster a welcoming environment for anyone in the St. Louis area to join us in discussing the Canon.

I'm going to say right up front that there is no possible way I can take more than even the smallest bit of credit for this resolution and the next one coming true.  The Parallel Case of St. Louis is a great group of people and our discussions and welcoming atmosphere are a testament to the wonderful people that come out to our meetings.  That being said, I still get the point for the resolution.  My resolutions, my scoring system.

6. Have Holmes in the Heartland be a fun and educational Sherlockian weekend.

Hell yeah, this happened!  When I posted this resolution in December, we didn't even have a name for our conference.  Eight months later, we pulled off a great weekend full of speakers, dinners, tours, events, and a sizable attendance.  And you know what, we've got another one cooking for 2020.  Point scored.

7. Submit an article to the Baker Street Journal.

And then I'll end on a loss.  Admittedly, I called this my stretch goal for the year.  I obviously thought I would have a lot more time to write than I actually did.  But even when the thought of putting an idea down to submit to the BSJ boils up, I am absolutely paralyzed.  I'm not ready to submit to the BSH.  I'm not there yet.  But someday....

So, that's my status report.  4 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw.  I'm proud to see what I've accomplished so far this year, and glad to see that I still have a lot to do.  But not tonight, I'm tired.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Interesting Interview: Vincent Wright

It's a new month, so it's time for the next Interesting Interview!  This month, I was lucky enough to Vincent Wright, one of the preeminent Sherlockian chronologists of our time.  Vincent not only spends his time unraveling Watson's dates and mysteries, but pops up at many a Sherlockian conference to give talks, blogs about his research, and has been interviewed on one or two podcasts. 

How do you define the word “Sherlockian”?
Anyone who enjoys any aspect of Sherlock Holmes. It all keeps the memory green.

How did you become a Sherlockian?
"Officially" once I moved to Indianapolis. I joined up with the local society, The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis, in 1997. I was a "social Sherlockian" for a long time after that, but then I really got into it and started going in deeper in all things Canonical. I had owned copies of William S. Baring-Gould's The Annotated Sherlock Holmes for many years, but wasn't really aware of how widespread the Sherlockian world was until I moved to Indy.

What is your favorite canonical story?
I would have to say 'The Red-Headed League.' A very close second has to be 'The Resident Patient.'

Who is a specific Sherlockian that you think others would find interesting?
Oh, my. There are so many incredible people in this hobby. Everybody brings something to the proverbial table, but I would have to say that everyone should keep an eye on Susan Bailey. She is an amazing Sherlockian who is just getting started on the speaking circuit, and her research abilities are incredible. I see wondrous things coming from her in the near future.

What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you?
The chronological aspect. I was hooked into it early on in my Sherlockian "career" and it has never waned. An adjunct of that would be studying Victorian London. I love finding out anything I can about it.

What things do you like to research related to Sherlock Holmes?
I have a Facebook page and blog called Historical Sherlock. On those sites I do my best to tie Holmes, Watson, and other Canonical characters into their surroundings. Into Victorian London/England. I am constantly looking for "evidence" that those people were real by finding a way to plant their feet in an actual place or situation. I say it's "playing The Game in a most unusual way." You name a subject and I've probably looked into it and/or have a file about it and have tried to figure out how it relates to The Canon and its characters.

How did you become so interested in chronology?
I was fascinated by Baring-Gould's chronology in The Annotated, but even more intrigued when I bought a second chronology book and some of the dates were different! I looked into it more and more and started to find that there was this never ending debate about dates for the cases. I loved reading the different chronologist's reasons and logic for their dates. It's a big puzzle that still rages among we current chronologists, and one that isn't likely to end soon. I'm working on something that may end the problems once and for all, but I can't reveal what that is yet.

Other than your own chronological studies, is there one chronology that really stands out to you for a particular reason?
I really like Brad Keefauver's 'A Basic Timeline of Terra 221b' on his Sherlock Peoria site. He has a way of looking at things waaaaay outside of the box, and I love what he comes up with. (Not that I agree with all of his dates, though.) I am still a fan of Baring-Gould's, and I also like Martin Dakin's and Jay Finley Christ's.

What book would you recommend to other Sherlockians?
I know I have (or will have) mentioned it several times, but I love giving people copies of Baring-Gould's The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. There just so much to find in those two volumes, and it's a perfect way to get a deep understanding of some of the less-well-known parts of The Canon. I would also say everyone needs a copy of The New Good Old Index by William D. Goodrich.

Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now?

I don't anticipate a lot of changes coming. The hobby is very strong right now, and lots of good work is being done, along with some fresh blood coming in and shaking things up.  I think we'll still be chugging along the same way in the next decade without abatement. There is always something to explore (or re-explore), or discover, or create - and we will always do just those things. It's a comfortable constant.